Single mosquito metatranscriptomics identifies vectors, emerging pathogens and reservoirs in one assay

Published in eLife, 2021

Batson J, Kistler A, Dudas G, Li L, Ratnasari K, Haas-Stapleton E, Logan P, Retallack H, 2021. "Single mosquito metatranscriptomics identifies vectors, emerging pathogens and reservoirs in one assay". eLife: 2021; 10:e68353

Abstract

Mosquitoes are major infectious disease-carrying vectors. Assessment of current and future risks associated with the mosquito population requires knowledge of the full repertoire of pathogens they carry, including novel viruses, as well as their blood meal sources. Unbiased metatranscriptomic sequencing of individual mosquitoes offers a straightforward, rapid, and quantitative means to acquire this information. Here, we profile 148 diverse wild-caught mosquitoes collected in California and detect sequences from eukaryotes, prokaryotes, 24 known and 46 novel viral species. Importantly, sequencing individuals greatly enhanced the value of the biological information obtained. It allowed us to (a) speciate host mosquito, (b) compute the prevalence of each microbe and recognize a high frequency of viral co-infections, (c) associate animal pathogens with specific blood meal sources, and (d) apply simple co-occurrence methods to recover previously undetected components of highly prevalent segmented viruses. In the context of emerging diseases, where knowledge about vectors, pathogens, and reservoirs is lacking, the approaches described here can provide actionable information for public health surveillance and intervention decisions.

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